Plenty of real-world lessons gained at polytechnic level

As a polytechnic student in the final semester of my diploma, I would like to provide an alternative perspective to Mr Tay Kian Tiong's views ("Poly students need lessons on current affairs"; last Friday).

Studying in a polytechnic is meant to prepare students for the working world.

The course structure is largely skills-based and touches on the relevant global and local issues surrounding one's course of study.

For example, psychology studies would require us to understand the state of mental health in Singapore.

This includes the public's perception of mental health issues, the factors behind such perceptions, the availability of mental health services here and how laws and policies play a part in this area.

Regardless of one's course of study, it is crucial to be aware of what is happening in the world, as current affairs can have an impact on one's course of study.

Similarly, during their courses, students will be asked to come up with solutions to address real-world problems.

Critical thinking and knowledge of current affairs are integrated into polytechnics' course structure.

Some polytechnics also have elective modules, where one is required to take a module outside one's course of study.

This semester, I am taking Ethical Dilemmas, and it has allowed me to examine current ethical issues in society, such as whistle-blowing and whether euthanasia should be legalised.

Additionally, going on internships - which is part of the polytechnic curriculum - exposes students to the real and growing world, during which knowledge will both be acquired and used at the same time.

My internship at the Association of Women for Action and Research taught me various skills and knowledge.

I am now aware of the issue of gender equality and have observed how current affairs, laws and policies play a role in this matter.

Therefore, we should not overgeneralise and say polytechnic students are missing out on local and global affairs.

Perhaps more can be done to integrate a greater scope of current affairs into our course structure.

This could help provide a more holistic education for all polytechnic students.

Khoo Ming Gui (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2016, with the headline 'Plenty of real-world lessons gained at polytechnic level'. Print Edition | Subscribe